Seven Corners Redevelopment

On 21 Aug, the county distributed a proposal to amend the zoning ordinance for planned developments in Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRD’s) and Commercial Revitalization Areas (CRA’s), among others. The proposed amendments may profoundly affect the redevelopment of the three CRD’s in Mason District: Seven Corners, Bailey’s Crossroads, and Annandale.  This page provides access to the following documents:

  • The county 21 August draft proposal to amend the zoning ordinance
  • Comments on the draft proposal submitted to the county on 24 Aug by HRVCA
  • 31 Aug county response to the 24 Aug HRVCA comments
  • 1 Sep HRVCA reply to the 31 Aug county response
  • 7 Sep preliminary comments submitted to county based on a second reading of the proposal

This series of documents reflects the complexity of the county’s amendment proposal.  Community associations are asking the county to extend the due date for final comments to 23 Nov.

On August 21, Fairfax County proposed to relax development standards for Seven Corners and other Commercial Revitalization Districts.  The relaxed standards would substantially diminish the quality of Seven Corners redevelopment and would threaten the quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods.  The attached summary describes the changes proposed by the county and invites residents to submit comments prior to the Sep 4 due date.

On July 15, the Planning Commission announced its decision regarding modifications recommended by the Community Working Group to the county plan for Seven Corners redevelopment.  Slides describing the CWG recommendations, plan modifications accepted by the Planning Commission, and the current status of the county’s plan are provided by this post.

On July 28, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the redevelopment plan.  The slides describe opportunities for residents to participate in the hearing process.

This post provides the recommendations of the Community Working Group for revisions to the county’s plan for redevelopment of Seven Corners.

On 25 Mar, representatives of neighborhood associations most directly affected by the county’s proposed redevelopment of Seven Corners send a letter to Supervisor Gross declaring their opposition to the plan.  On 27 Apr, community representatives met with Supervisor Gross and secured her agreement to consider revisions to the county’s plan.  The associations formed a Community Working Group (CWG) which produced recommended revisions  on 23 Jun and sent them to Supervisor Gross, Planning Commissioner Strandlie, the Board of Supervisors, and the Planning Commission.

The CWG plan revisions address five principal topics: density of development, transportation infrastructure, a school on the Willston site, restoration of the low-income housing that would be displaced by the redevelopment, and parks and green space.   The CWG produced four documents:

  • The Cover Letter letter lists the revisions and describes them briefly
  • The Recommendations document describes each revision and its rationale
  • The Attachment provides red lines for the county’s plan to incorporate the revisions
  • An Alternative Affordable Housing Strategy describes a possible means for restoring low-income housing at Seven Corners that would be lost under the county’s plan.

An on-line petition is available for those who wish to support the CWG recommended revisions.  It is an important opportunity to influence the county’s plan for Seven Corners redevelopment. Please take a minute to consider signing.

The county’s plan for Seven Corners redevelopment is available here.

This post provides access to the county’s final proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment for the Seven Corners CBC. On my Mac, clicking on the “pdf document” option opens the pdf document in the browser and it can be saved from there.  Clicking on the “Word document” option automatically downloads the Word document to the Download folder on the Mac.  The size of the Word document is approximately 26 MB.

6 May:  The following is the original document with a table of contents and numbered headings added.

Plan with ToC:  pdf doc with ToC              Plan with ToC:  Word doc with ToC

4 May:  The following is the original plan document copied from the county’s CD.

Plan from CD:  original pdf doc                  Plan from CD:  original Word doc

Any problem, let me know.

Clyde Miller.

The Seven Corners Task Force has finished their redevelopment plan. It is likely that hearings soon will begin to determine whether the larger community accepts their proposal. This CRITIQUE of the plan has been prepared to aid understanding of six principal community issues/concerns that remain unresolved. Over the past eight months, community members have voiced these concerns repeatedly in task force and working group meetings, but Supervisor Gross and the county have provided no constructive response.

The critique discusses both the unresolved concerns and the process by which the task force developed their plan. The process is important because its deficiencies largely explain why the community concerns surfaced relatively late in the process and why they remain unresolved.

The critique document intentionally is comprehensive and thoroughly referenced. In particular, discussions of process deficiencies are supported by links to relevant community and county documents generated during the plan development process. The critique document includes a number of features to aid readers’ navigation:

  • The first page is a table of contents, and each heading is linked to the association section of the document. For example, to move to section “6.2 First Draft,” click on “First Draft.”
  • Where specific sections are referenced in the text, click on the section number to move to that section. For example, if the text reads “Section 5.3,” clicking on “5.3” will take you to that section.
  • Referenced documents are available via Internet hyperlinks. For example, clicking on “130711_JTem” will open that document on your computer if you have an Internet connection.

Some may want to read the critique straight through. Those with more limited time may want to focus on the following:

  • Section 1. Introduction (1 page)
  • Section 2. Summary of Unresolved Community Concerns (1+ page)
  • Section 7. Explanation of Community Concerns, especially Section 7.3 Schools
  • Section 10. Conclusion and an Approach to Resolution (2 pages)
  • Appendix. The appendix (3+ pages) concisely summarizes pertinent material in tables

The 4 March draft of the task force redevelopment plan for Seven Corners is available HERE.

Please send any comment or question to, Subject: Critique

The special working group tasked to produce a redevelopment proposal for the Sears site at Seven Corners concluded their work on 4 March.  Gross’s Seven Corners task force had proposed to put 719,000 sq ft of floor area on the site, all of it for residences.  The community surrounding the site, with the support of HRVCA, opposed that proposal because (1) the density seemed excessive for the site, and (2) the community wanted replacement of some of the retail services and office space (doctors’ offices) now on the site. Currently, there are 161,000 sq ft of retail and 105,000 sq ft of office space on the site for a total of 266,000 sq ft.

The special working group agreed to 85,000 sq ft retail, 50,000 office, and 395,000 residential (60 townhouses plus 275 apartments) for a total of 530,000 sq ft, 75% of the floor area in the task force proposal. Ellie Ashford provided a summary of the meeting on the Annandale blog.

The Sears site is one of three areas proposed for redevelopment at Seven Corners.  The Sears site recommendation will be combined with the proposals for the other two areas in an integrated Comprehensive Plan amendment and sent to the Mason District Land Use Committee, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors for approval.  Once approved, developers would be able to propose redevelopment of any of the three areas. A proposal for the Sears site could come in the near future.

HRVCA agreed at our 28 Jan meeting to oppose the integrated redevelopment plan based on the excessive densities proposed for the other two areas. An update will be provided at the HRVC spring meeting in April.

Letter to the Editor, Falls Church News Press.

FEBRUARY 12, 2015

The letter below was published in the Falls Church News Press and on their Web site as one of three letters under the title of the first letter, “Absolutely No Need for New High School in F.C.

 Misguided Revitalization in Mason District


The quality of life in Mason District is threatened by misguided redevelopment in its two revitalization areas. In her “A Penny for Your Thoughts” column in the January 29 Falls Church News-Press, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross called these areas a blessing, and so they may be for her. But what about the community?

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has given itself the power to amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow virtually any land use in a revitalization area if, in their view, it would advance “revitalization goals.” Gross offers the amendment for the SE Quadrant in the Bailey’s Crossroads revitalization area as an example of the benefits of the Board’s power. The amendment allows the development of a high-rise elementary school on a two-acre site on the curb of Columbia Pike in a busy commercial district with no green space for outdoor activities. Recreation would be on the roof of the garage. Intense citizen opposition to the amendment in the January 13 Board hearing argued that the site is not suitable for a school. In particular, the Comprehensive Plan states that schools should not be located in commercial areas.

But the amendment serves Gross’s purpose. The School Board wants to build a child-friendly school with green space on the five-acre Willston School site in a residential district opposite Seven Corners. But Gross wants that site for a new $125M county office building. She recommends that she keep Willston and the children use the Columbia Pike school site provided by the plan amendment. This is not the first time that the interests of our children have been sacrificed for Gross’s agenda. For years, children at Bailey’s Elementary sat in 19 trailers while the School Board asked for the Willston site. Last fall, relief of sorts was provided by opening Bailey’s Upper Elementary in a converted office building on blacktop in a commercial district on the other side of Seven Corners. The school has no gym, no auditorium, and no green space.

Such are the consequences of misguided revitalization for the community. It’s Gross mismanagement.

Clyde Miller

Falls Church

On 13 Jan, the Board of Supervisors approved the Comprehensive Plan amendment for the SE Quadrant notwithstanding strenuous opposition from citizens.  The amendment allows another “urban” elementary school to be constructed, this one on the curb of Columbia Pike with no green space and surrounded by commercial developments.  The Holmes Run Valley Citizen’s Association submitted a written statement opposing the plan amendment and testified at the hearing.

The supervisors’ decision was a disappointment but not unexpected.  The Board does not recognize that citizen participation is the essential ingredient in land use planning.  Supervisor Gross, in particular, seems intent upon dictating the future vision of our community.

A letter objecting to the Board’s decision and the conduct of the hearing has been sent to Sharon Bulova, the chairman of the Board.  Articles on the plan amendment have been published in the Washington Post and the Annandale Blog.

On Tuesday, Jan 13, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Comprehensive Plan amendment PA 2014-I-B2 to allow an elementary school to be constructed on Columbia Pike at Bailey’s Crossroads next door to Radley Acura.  The hearing previously was scheduled for Dec 2 but was deferred when School Superintendent Karen Garza asked the county to return the Willston School property to the School Board for use as a school site.  As reported in a Dec 18 article in the Fairfax Times, Supervisor Gross intends that the county’s proposed $125,000,000 East County Center office building will occupy the Willston site; the Columbia Pike location is her recommendation for a school.

A 5-page statement has been prepared to describe the principal reasons for opposing plan amendment PA 2014-I-B2, namely:

  • The site is not suitable for an elementary school
  • The county has not discussed the proposal with the affected communities
  • The School Board has asked for the Willston site, and the School Board alone is responsible for selecting school locations.

The SE Quadrant plan amendment is the subject of two other posts on this blog dated 11 Dec and 22 Nov.

Residents are encouraged to express their opposition to the plan amendment by sending e-mails to the Board of Supervisors and by speaking at the Board hearing. The hearing is scheduled for 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, Jan 13,  in the Board Auditorium at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

To Send an E-Mail to the Board:

  • Send it to:
  • Identify the hearing and plan amendment in the Subject line as follows: “Opposition to PA 2014-I-B2, Hearing Jan 13, 3 PM”
  • In the body of the e-mail, state the reason for your opposition. It can be as brief as stating that you believe that the site is not suitable for a school.
  • Include your name and address so they know you live in Fairfax County.
  • Send the e-mail before 9 A.M. Monday, Jan 12, to assure that the Board sees it before the hearing.

To Speak at the Hearing:

  • Register to speak at the Board hearing Web site. The link to register is colored blue in the first line at the top of the Board hearing page.
  • You will be allowed 5 minutes if you speak for a neighborhood association, 3 minutes otherwise.

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